Anyone know how to step up frozen yeast and make a starter?

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rtstrider

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I have ordered stuff to start making a frozen yeast bank. Long story short I live in a climate where we have about a 2 month window to have liquid yeast shipped that we can't get locally. The closest shops that carry White Labs and Omega are 4+ hours away. I try to brew every two weeks because I love it! So with that said I've got some 15ml tubes on the way (with all the other stuff) and will be using those to freeze the yeast/glycerin mix. They will be frozen in a gel pack insulated lunch box in a non frost free (aka no defrost) chest freezer. This freezes a tad slower than a normal freezer with a fan so figure that's a safer bet. Anywho...When it's time to make a starter with the thawed yeast I was thinking of working in 10's because I've read that's what's recommended. So say 150 ml 1.020 wort, 1.5L 1.020 wort, 2L 1.040 wort. Has anyone had luck just tossing the frozen yeast into a 2L 1.040 starter right out of the gate? If not how do you do it and what has worked best in your experiences?
 
Just freezing yeast will definitely rupture their cell walls basically killing them, I've never heard of this approach before.

Actually, the glycerin/distilled water method works quite well. I've got a considerable yeast bank in deep freeze stored exactly like what @rtstrider described. Some samples haven't been revived in quite some time since I've been playing around with new yeast products alot in the last couple of years.

But I can vouch for the viability of both the process and the revived yeast. I've had success with samples frozen 2-3 years. The trick is to start small and use multiple steps in boosting the volume and cell count. The method of stepping @rtstrider outlined works in bringing it back, and is also the one I used to harvest Bell's House Yeast from some Two Hearted ale when the Brewery ran out last Spring.

Brooo Brother
 
Actually, the glycerin/distilled water method works quite well. I've got a considerable yeast bank in deep freeze stored exactly like what @rtstrider described. Some samples haven't been revived in quite some time since I've been playing around with new yeast products alot in the last couple of years.

But I can vouch for the viability of both the process and the revived yeast. I've had success with samples frozen 2-3 years. The trick is to start small and use multiple steps in boosting the volume and cell count. The method of stepping @rtstrider outlined works in bringing it back, and is also the one I used to harvest Bell's House Yeast from some Two Hearted ale when the Brewery ran out last Spring.

Brooo Brother

It's funny you mention Bells yeast...Guess what's in the fermenter right now? A Bells clone with yeast stepped up from Bells Two Hearted Ale cans lol!
 
It's funny you mention Bells yeast...Guess what's in the fermenter right now? A Bells clone with yeast stepped up from Bells Two Hearted Ale cans lol!

Good luck. I had very good luck harvesting from the dregs of three bottles of Two Hearted. It only took three steps, starting at 250 ml, to reach my estimated cell count.

I've used it twice now and like the yeast. Not sure of its generic lineage, but it seems to perform with the best characteristics of Chico crossed with Nottingham. Fermented clean and cleared rapidly at 63F, with a 'diacetyl' cleanup at 70F.

Brooo Brother
 
I don't think it's similar to Nottingham. Nottingham has a twang to it. I think it's a mutation of the real chico yeast. If you haven't built up the chico yeast from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I'd recommend doing that. Ferment a Cascade/2 row SMASH. Shoot for around 35 ibus and try to get close to the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale og. Ferment that around 67F and try it. It has VERY similar esters to the Bells yeast but dries out the beer a tad more. Btw it's nowhere in the ballpark of US-05 or 1056. I don't know what that is but it's not what chico is now. I'm going to be playing around with WLP001 to see how it goes and how much closer it is to the real thing. The one thing I've noticed with the real chico is that it's DOG slow. Bells is just a tad quicker. Anywho looking at your avatar I have to ask what part of the panhandle you're from?
 
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Back in the day, I spent some time in P'cola, and have also spent many memorable Saturdays at the Doak. First time was 1973 when my Alma Mater got humiliated by the 'Noles. Our daughter got her B.A. and M.A. from FSU, a nephew and niece are both grads, and the nephew got his J.D. there.

I've traveled the world and have yet to find a better beach than Pensacola. The Naval Aviation museum is second to none. Lots of good memories. Never flew with the Blues but have driven a few of the planes they've flown in the past. They make that skill look easy. Believe me, it's not.

Brooo Brother
 
I have ordered stuff to start making a frozen yeast bank. Long story short I live in a climate where we have about a 2 month window to have liquid yeast shipped that we can't get locally. The closest shops that carry White Labs and Omega are 4+ hours away. I try to brew every two weeks because I love it! So with that said I've got some 15ml tubes on the way (with all the other stuff) and will be using those to freeze the yeast/glycerin mix. They will be frozen in a gel pack insulated lunch box in a non frost free (aka no defrost) chest freezer. This freezes a tad slower than a normal freezer with a fan so figure that's a safer bet. Anywho...When it's time to make a starter with the thawed yeast I was thinking of working in 10's because I've read that's what's recommended. So say 150 ml 1.020 wort, 1.5L 1.020 wort, 2L 1.040 wort. Has anyone had luck just tossing the frozen yeast into a 2L 1.040 starter right out of the gate? If not how do you do it and what has worked best in your experiences?
I thaw my tubes containing 5mL, pitch into 100mL 1.038ish starter, then into a 1L starter. After that I continue building up as far as the recipe requires. Last batch was 6 gals of Marzen that used a 3L starter.
 
I thaw my tubes containing 5mL, pitch into 100mL 1.038ish starter, then into a 1L starter. After that I continue building up as far as the recipe requires. Last batch was 6 gals of Marzen that used a 3L starter.

Do you thaw and then attempt to separate the yeast slurry from the glycerin or just pitch everything in with the initial wort? I guess I'm asking whether you're pitching 5ml of slurry into 100ml or starter wort or 5ml of yeast/glycerin which would be more like 2~3 ml total yeast. I've just chucked the whole thawed volume into the starter wort which seems to work. Thanks.

Brooo Brother
 
I pitch the whole contents of the tube. No attempt to decant the glycerin, although I guess you could try...
Doesn't seem to be an issue with the several batches I've done so far.
 
I pitch the whole contents of the tube. No attempt to decant the glycerin, although I guess you could try...
Doesn't seem to be an issue with the several batches I've done so far.
Agree. It's food safe, indeed is used as a food additive, so I never saw the need. At most you're adding a few ml of a food safe substance into 1~3 liters of starter into 6 to 20+ gallons of wort. Mole hill, meet mountain.

Just wondered how others proceed.

Brooo Brother
 
Just freezing yeast will definitely rupture their cell walls basically killing them, I've never heard of this approach before.
I think this is true if you just stick a container of yeast in the freezer. People who freeze yeast long term use slants and its only a small amount of cells, probably inside some kind of gel or preserving material? I never made a slant and don’t know. But I know people do it. This is where you buy the Yeast book if you want to get into that. To me, that’s another hobby within the hobby to spend more money on for equipment and supplies that you’ll never recover.
 
Here is another article that goes over banking and reviving yeast. I have only harvested slurries for quick turn arounds, but I'm working my way up to storing yeast long-term.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/threads/maintaining-a-healthy-yeast-bank-long-term.678997/
Excellent resource. Wish I'd come across it a few years back. The process for freezing is basically the same one I follow. It's good to see those protocols validated by a trained microbiologist. Thanks for posting.

Brooo Brother
 
I think this is true if you just stick a container of yeast in the freezer. People who freeze yeast long term use slants and its only a small amount of cells, probably inside some kind of gel or preserving material? I never made a slant and don’t know. But I know people do it. This is where you buy the Yeast book if you want to get into that. To me, that’s another hobby within the hobby to spend more money on for equipment and supplies that you’ll never recover.
Yes, it is definitely a whole other ballgame.
 
Thought I’d touch base here. I pitched a frozen/banked Chico slurry that was built up from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 150 ml 1.020 starter wort around 11am yesterday. It’s been almost 24 hours and I’m just now starting to get some activity. I’m not brewing for 2-3 weeks so wanted to take this on a test run and document how long it took to go from 15 ml slurry to a nice pitchable amount for future use. I plan on going 150 ml 1.020, 1.5L 1.020, popping that in the fridge then decant and top off with 2L 1.040 wort come brew week. Looking for a very nice healthy pitch! The reason I’m going from 150ml to 1.5L is I vaguely remember reading somewhere yeast propagates best when working in values of 10
 
Thought I’d touch base here. I pitched a frozen/banked Chico slurry that was built up from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 150 ml 1.020 starter wort around 11am yesterday. It’s been almost 24 hours and I’m just now starting to get some activity. I’m not brewing for 2-3 weeks so wanted to take this on a test run and document how long it took to go from 15 ml slurry to a nice pitchable amount for future use. I plan on going 150 ml 1.020, 1.5L 1.020, popping that in the fridge then decant and top off with 2L 1.040 wort come brew week. Looking for a very nice healthy pitch! The reason I’m going from 150ml to 1.5L is I vaguely remember reading somewhere yeast propagates best when working in values of 10
That's the exact methodology and timeline I've used several times, at least three times in the past year. SG 1.020 for the first two propagations and 1.038 for the final prop. A fully settled and decanted volume seems to yield about a 300 ml "cake" or a 500 ml thick slurry of yeast/supernatant.

I don't have any method of counting yeast cells, either viable or dead. But since the growth cycle from ~15 ml to ~300 ml is roughly a month, I'd guess at worst a 75-80% viability, but actual cell count would be a guess based on an assumption without some special lab gear. Under-pitching would be more problematic than over-pitching so I'm not too concerned with erring on the side of "conservative guesstimating."

There's plenty of slurry left over to freeze a new sample for a "master" or use 25 ml to grow a 2.5L next generation starter (lager).
 
I'm thawing out a vial now. I used that same link above for my preparations.
I'm planning on brewing a saison tomorrow, so I'll likely use some of the overages there for the starter. Maybe boost with some DME - I'll make that call as it goes.
But I'll get to use my brand new stir plate for it, that should help matters.
I should also think about picking up more of the tubes - all my old White Labs ones are full. Those were gret for storage - I wish they still used them, though I suppose the newer packages are cheaper for them and marginally better for the environment.
 
I'm thawing out a vial now. I used that same link above for my preparations.
I'm planning on brewing a saison tomorrow, so I'll likely use some of the overages there for the starter. Maybe boost with some DME - I'll make that call as it goes.
But I'll get to use my brand new stir plate for it, that should help matters.
I should also think about picking up more of the tubes - all my old White Labs ones are full. Those were gret for storage - I wish they still used them, though I suppose the newer packages are cheaper for them and marginally better for the environment.

Hopefully your yeast fires off faster than the real Chico. I forgot how sluggish this strain really is! I wouldn’t expect another step up until Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest. Then it’s off to the races on the stir plate. Good luck on your brew tomorrow!
 
That's the exact methodology and timeline I've used several times, at least three times in the past year. SG 1.020 for the first two propagations and 1.038 for the final prop. A fully settled and decanted volume seems to yield about a 300 ml "cake" or a 500 ml thick slurry of yeast/supernatant.

I don't have any method of counting yeast cells, either viable or dead. But since the growth cycle from ~15 ml to ~300 ml is roughly a month, I'd guess at worst a 75-80% viability, but actual cell count would be a guess based on an assumption without some special lab gear. Under-pitching would be more problematic than over-pitching so I'm not too concerned with erring on the side of "conservative guesstimating."

There's plenty of slurry left over to freeze a new sample for a "master" or use 25 ml to grow a 2.5L next generation starter (lager).

Holy cow! It takes a full month for you to get a pitchable amount of yeast from 1 15ml tube? Just want to make sure I’m reading that correctly
 
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Hopefully your yeast fires off faster than the real Chico. I forgot how sluggish this strain really is! I wouldn’t expect another step up until Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest. Then it’s off to the races on the stir plate. Good luck on your brew tomorrow!
The vial I have thawing is Trappist High Grav for a tripel I have coming up in a week or two.
The saison will be using BE-134, which I have dry. The reason I mented the saison is because I plan to use excess wort (partigyle?) as the step up starter for the Trappist.
 
Hey cow! It takes a full month for you to get a pitchable amount of yeast from 1 15ml tube? Just want to make sure I’m reading that correctly
All told, anywhere from 2-3 weeks. Two to three days to thaw in the refrigerator to get a 15~25 ml "mother" yeast. A day or two to get the 150 ml up to room temperature, then make a 150 ml viability starter at low speed on the stir plate for 3~4 days. Once I have a nice visible ring on the bottom of the flask, I put it back in the fridge to separate the yeast from the supernatant. Depending on the yeast strain, that's anywhere from 2 days to as many as 5~6 days. Rinse and repeat for a 1st step propagation after the viability starter. Rinse/repeat for a 1.5L second step propagation, so a total of maybe 12 days (quick) to 23 days (long). I really like to have as much yeast as possible settle out of suspension and decant as much spent starter as possible to avoid off-flavors from the supernatant getting into the fermenter. I find it's more of a concern with lagers than with ales, and I tend to brew quite a few lagers.
 
All told, anywhere from 2-3 weeks. Two to three days to thaw in the refrigerator to get a 15~25 ml "mother" yeast. A day or two to get the 150 ml up to room temperature, then make a 150 ml viability starter at low speed on the stir plate for 3~4 days. Once I have a nice visible ring on the bottom of the flask, I put it back in the fridge to separate the yeast from the supernatant. Depending on the yeast strain, that's anywhere from 2 days to as many as 5~6 days. Rinse and repeat for a 1st step propagation after the viability starter. Rinse/repeat for a 1.5L second step propagation, so a total of maybe 12 days (quick) to 23 days (long). I really like to have as much yeast as possible settle out of suspension and decant as much spent starter as possible to avoid off-flavors from the supernatant getting into the fermenter. I find it's more of a concern with lagers than with ales, and I tend to brew quite a few lagers.

I was just going to toss all 150ml into 1.5L 1.020 on the stir plate. From there I was going to cold crash, decant, then toss into a 2L 1.040 starter. Once that's done cold crash, decant, then pitch the yeast in the fermenter. Think that would be good enough?
 
On a slight tangent, but noting your infrequent access to liquid yeast.
I've successfully dried and frozen a Kveik yeast, just spread the yeast out thin on some greaseproof paper and put in fan oven on no heat until crispy.
Then break up the yeast flakes and put them in a pot in the freezer. I then just take a 5cm x 5cm approx flake out and lob it in the beer. Have used this yeast from the first ferment saving about 8 times now. Goes off like a rocket.
Thanks for the tips on building from small volumes of cells, I'm going to start small vol ( 200ml) and weak (1.020) and then top up with stronger and more as the cells build.
 
On a slight tangent, but noting your infrequent access to liquid yeast.
I've successfully dried and frozen a Kveik yeast, just spread the yeast out thin on some greaseproof paper and put in fan oven on no heat until crispy.
Then break up the yeast flakes and put them in a pot in the freezer. I then just take a 5cm x 5cm approx flake out and lob it in the beer. Have used this yeast from the first ferment saving about 8 times now. Goes off like a rocket.
Thanks for the tips on building from small volumes of cells, I'm going to start small vol ( 200ml) and weak (1.020) and then top up with stronger and more as the cells build.

My issue there is I have various kviek yeast and have used it in quite a few brews. So far it's not my favorite yeasts. Lutra is meh, and the others are a great novelty when you need a VERY fast turn around brew but I don't see too many real world applications (in the styles I brew) outside of juicy/hazy beers so far. To each is own though :)
 
My issue there is I have various kviek yeast and have used it in quite a few brews. So far it's not my favorite yeasts. Lutra is meh, and the others are a great novelty when you need a VERY fast turn around brew but I don't see too many real world applications (in the styles I brew) outside of juicy/hazy beers so far. To each is own though :)
As I said on a tangent and putting it out there as an option. Agreed not the answer to your original question.
 
I was just going to toss all 150ml into 1.5L 1.020 on the stir plate. From there I was going to cold crash, decant, then toss into a 2L 1.040 starter. Once that's done cold crash, decant, then pitch the yeast in the fermenter. Think that would be good enough?
It would certainly work. I just try to have as much "clean" yeast from each step with less supernatant getting added to each succeeding step. Before I was starting in a 1L Erlenmeyer for viability, 2L for the 1st step and 5L for the second step, all for about 300 ml of yeast cake. The process is definitely faster by just adding increasing amounts of wort and decanting only once. My way I definitely have to plan my brew sessions ahead of time, but I usually do that anyway.
 
It would certainly work. I just try to have as much "clean" yeast from each step with less supernatant getting added to each succeeding step. Before I was starting in a 1L Erlenmeyer for viability, 2L for the 1st step and 5L for the second step, all for about 300 ml of yeast cake. The process is definitely faster by just adding increasing amounts of wort and decanting only once. My way I definitely have to plan my brew sessions ahead of time, but I usually do that anyway.

Do you decant your starter before pitching into the fermenter? I do personally but didn't know if maybe that might be giving some of the "off" flavors you're experiencing? I ran an experiment with this before throwing a 2 liter starter (spent wort from the stir plate and all) of w34/70 into 5 gallons of a 12 ibu beer. I poured in all 2 liters and did not notice any off flavors. Pulled in some head brewers that verified this as well. Now this wasn't frozen yeast though so maybe that's the difference?
 
Do you decant your starter before pitching into the fermenter? I do personally but didn't know if maybe that might be giving some of the "off" flavors you're experiencing? I ran an experiment with this before throwing a 2 liter starter (spent wort from the stir plate and all) of w34/70 into 5 gallons of a 12 ibu beer. I poured in all 2 liters and did not notice any off flavors. Pulled in some head brewers that verified this as well. Now this wasn't frozen yeast though so maybe that's the difference?

It's unclear to me if previously frozen yeast verses yeast from the fridge (or fresh from the manufacturer) makes a difference. But I try to decant as much as feasible. For lagers I always try to decant as much as possible and still have enough liquid to resuspend the settled cake. That is to say, if I have a 300 ml cake I'll leave enough supernatant make a 500 ml slurry. For ales I'm not that persnickety, and often I won't wait for all the yeast to completely settle out and will pitch more liquid if I'm pressed for time. Complete settling of the yeast can take up to a couple of weeks, not unlike cold crashing, which is exactly what settling in the refrigerator is. Unless I've really planned ahead I won't have that much time to wait.

The reason I decant (especially for lagers) is to avoid any off flavors from the spent wort. Somewhere in my reading on yeast propagation I came across a mention that if any more than about 5% of the total volume in the fermenter was supernatant from a propagation, it would begin to affect the flavor of the finished beer. That would be roughly 1L of liquid in a 5 gallon final batch (1/20th), or about 5%. For a 2L starter in a lager it would be 10%.

If you think about it, ales are fermented in the 62F-75F range, with higher temperatures resulting in more esters, phenols, and occasional fusels. They're sometimes favorable, but often are not and detract from the finished beer. Yeast propagation usually is performed on a stir plate at room temperature (say 75F) under conditions that already stress the yeast cells resulting in off flavors, or at least atypical flavors, in the spent wort. The delta between yeast propagation temperatures and fermentation temperatures for lagers is even greater, resulting in flavors that are generally unacceptable for a well-crafted lager, plus there's twice as much volume (2L) trying to spoil my perfect beer that I struggled mightily to perfect. The least I can do for my precious wort is to show it a little respect and decant the nasty supernatant!

As far as professional brewers not worrying about spent wort affecting their beer, consider the volumes they are using. Pitching 5 gallons from a yeast brink into a five barrel fermenter would yield a 31:1 ratio of yeast to wort, or less than 1/6 the threshold amount that allegedly starts to affect the finished beer. I guess it's all a matter of perception as well as perspective. If I can taste it (or even if I only think that maybe, possibly I can taste it), it's worth it to me to take a few extra days to decant between step-ups in a starter. By the way, I basically do the same procedure for propagating yeast, regardless of whether it's a frozen sample from the freezer, a harvested sample stored in the fridge for a few months, or a fresh pitch from the LHBS that I'm building from scratch. The only difference with frozen samples is the slow thawing and matching the temperatures of the sample and the initial 125 ml viability starter wort before mixing and putting on the stir plate.
 
It's unclear to me if previously frozen yeast verses yeast from the fridge (or fresh from the manufacturer) makes a difference. But I try to decant as much as feasible. For lagers I always try to decant as much as possible and still have enough liquid to resuspend the settled cake. That is to say, if I have a 300 ml cake I'll leave enough supernatant make a 500 ml slurry. For ales I'm not that persnickety, and often I won't wait for all the yeast to completely settle out and will pitch more liquid if I'm pressed for time. Complete settling of the yeast can take up to a couple of weeks, not unlike cold crashing, which is exactly what settling in the refrigerator is. Unless I've really planned ahead I won't have that much time to wait.

The reason I decant (especially for lagers) is to avoid any off flavors from the spent wort. Somewhere in my reading on yeast propagation I came across a mention that if any more than about 5% of the total volume in the fermenter was supernatant from a propagation, it would begin to affect the flavor of the finished beer. That would be roughly 1L of liquid in a 5 gallon final batch (1/20th), or about 5%. For a 2L starter in a lager it would be 10%.

If you think about it, ales are fermented in the 62F-75F range, with higher temperatures resulting in more esters, phenols, and occasional fusels. They're sometimes favorable, but often are not and detract from the finished beer. Yeast propagation usually is performed on a stir plate at room temperature (say 75F) under conditions that already stress the yeast cells resulting in off flavors, or at least atypical flavors, in the spent wort. The delta between yeast propagation temperatures and fermentation temperatures for lagers is even greater, resulting in flavors that are generally unacceptable for a well-crafted lager, plus there's twice as much volume (2L) trying to spoil my perfect beer that I struggled mightily to perfect. The least I can do for my precious wort is to show it a little respect and decant the nasty supernatant!

As far as professional brewers not worrying about spent wort affecting their beer, consider the volumes they are using. Pitching 5 gallons from a yeast brink into a five barrel fermenter would yield a 31:1 ratio of yeast to wort, or less than 1/6 the threshold amount that allegedly starts to affect the finished beer. I guess it's all a matter of perception as well as perspective. If I can taste it (or even if I only think that maybe, possibly I can taste it), it's worth it to me to take a few extra days to decant between step-ups in a starter. By the way, I basically do the same procedure for propagating yeast, regardless of whether it's a frozen sample from the freezer, a harvested sample stored in the fridge for a few months, or a fresh pitch from the LHBS that I'm building from scratch. The only difference with frozen samples is the slow thawing and matching the temperatures of the sample and the initial 125 ml viability starter wort before mixing and putting on the stir plate.

Well it's 71 hours since pitching the frozen yeast and it's reached full krausen finally. This really feels like stepping up from bottle slurry but a pinch faster. I don't mind it since it allows for a more diverse bank than I'd normally have access to. Will just have to plan out brew day by about 2-3 weeks ahead of time it feels like. For thawing I just ran some lukewarm water over the tube until it was fully thawed, gave it a really good shake to get everything back in suspension, wiped dry, sprayed with star san, and pitched the slurry straight into the wort. I feel decanting every step will add a good bit of unnecessary waiting. The only reason I'm decanting (and may not even do that) the 1.5L of wort is because I don't want to end up making .5L of simple DME syrup on the stove. I may just go that route though and only decant at pitching time. We will see ;)
 
Well it's 71 hours since pitching the frozen yeast and it's reached full krausen finally. This really feels like stepping up from bottle slurry but a pinch faster. I don't mind it since it allows for a more diverse bank than I'd normally have access to. Will just have to plan out brew day by about 2-3 weeks ahead of time it feels like. For thawing I just ran some lukewarm water over the tube until it was fully thawed, gave it a really good shake to get everything back in suspension, wiped dry, sprayed with star san, and pitched the slurry straight into the wort. I feel decanting every step will add a good bit of unnecessary waiting. The only reason I'm decanting (and may not even do that) the 1.5L of wort is because I don't want to end up making .5L of simple DME syrup on the stove. I may just go that route though and only decant at pitching time. We will see ;)

Agreed. I generally have a good handle on what and when I'm gonna' brew, based on my 'calendar of events' for the next couple of months. Who knew retirement would be so busy and complicated! When looking toward the next brew cycle, I'll check my inventory of frozen and refrigerated harvest yeasts ahead of time and get started with a propagation. Thawing only takes a day or two and viability ramp up another few days, so I give it a 4-5 day lead time. Fresh or refrigerated harvest usually go straight to a 750 ml 1st step starter for two days, then decant, then do a 1.5L second step, crash and decant, then ready to pitch. A lager yeast (and the Kolsch yeast I'm propagating now) gets 150 ml/1.020 start, decant, and a 1.5L second step/1.038 bump and decant, followed by a 3rd step of about 2~2.5L/1.038 wort bump and decant before pitching. Takes awhile, but it never fails to produce a vigorous ferment.

I'm of the opinion that I'm likely over-pitching, but I also add NaMeta at the end of my boil for oxygen scavenging (LoDO). I remember the German Brewers saying that NaMeta in the wort can interfere with with yeast during the adaptive phase of fermentation due to extremely low oxygen levels in the wort, so I oxygenate like crazy (after the yeast is pitched) as well as oxygenate the slurry before pitching to ensure there's adequate O2 for the beasties in the early stages, so an over-pitch isn't a concern of mine. The Helles I've got brewing right now took almost 1 ½ days to show a high level of activity, but when it lit off it really got going. I cold pitched at 46F (both wort and yeast slurry) and let it free rise to 52F which took about 12 hours.

Good to hear your frozen pitch came to life, but then I hear Tallehassee is "warm" this time of year 😉. Our daughter went to school there and got here BA and MA from FSU. Go 'Noles!
 
1. I put my vial with 10ml of frozen yeast in my shirt pocket and then make 100ml of 1.010 starter wort. By the time the wort is cooled the yeast has warmed enough to pitch.

2. 24 hrs later I pitch the entire starter into 1l of 1.036ish.

3. From here out I build it up as far as needed. Usually once more for 5 gals of ale, twice more for lagers.

4. I crash and decant only once, before pitching into the fermenter.

I spend a total of 5-6 days getting a vial of frozen yeast into a fermenter.
 
1. I put my vial with 10ml of frozen yeast in my shirt pocket and then make 100ml of 1.010 starter wort. By the time the wort is cooled the yeast has warmed enough to pitch.

2. 24 hrs later I pitch the entire starter into 1l of 1.036ish.

3. From here out I build it up as far as needed. Usually once more for 5 gals of ale, twice more for lagers.

4. I crash and decant only once, before pitching into the fermenter.

I spend a total of 5-6 days getting a vial of frozen yeast into a fermenter.

Just checking at stage 3 do you build by adding it all to another litre? If so what strength ?
Adding another one litre of 1.036 isn't giving you a 2.1 litre at 1.036.
I note you don't crash and then pitch 2 litres at this stage.

This is the aspect of the stepups that puzzles me a bit.
 
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Just checking at stage 3 do you build by adding it all to another litre? If so what strength ?
Adding another one litre of 1.036 isn't giving you a 2.1 litre at 1.036.
I note you don't crash and then pitch 2 litres at this stage.

This is the aspect of the stepups that puzzles me a bit.
Once I have completed step three, I treat the yeast as if it were a fresh smack pack containing 100 billion cells. I'll step it up once or twice depending on the amount needed, using 1.036 wort.

I use Beersmith to calculate starter sizing.
 
Once I have completed step three, I treat the yeast as if it were a fresh smack pack containing 100 billion cells. I'll step it up once or twice depending on the amount needed, using 1.036 wort.

I use Beersmith to calculate starter sizing.
Normally I would put a fresh smackpak into 2.5 litres at about 1.040 so I might need to do a bit of settling and decanting before topping up.

Thanks
 
At almost 4 days (this morning) the 150ml 1.020 starter was completely fermented out. This was just pitched into 1.5L 1.020 wort on the stir plate. Once this is propagated I think I will cold crash/decant then go 2L 1.040. Once the 1.5L is fermented out I should be right in the ballpark of one Wyeast Smackpack. Well that's not good enough for the next brew since it'll be an IPA lol Need to boost that cell count ;)
 
...To me, that’s another hobby within the hobby to spend more money on for equipment and supplies that you’ll never recover.

I've said this before: Homebrewing - the most expensive way to get cheap beer. I might have to modify that by saying yeast banking - the most expensive way to get cheap yeast. I'm slowly buying the stuff I need to start doing this.
 
I've said this before: Homebrewing - the most expensive way to get cheap beer. I might have to modify that by saying yeast banking - the most expensive way to get cheap yeast. I'm slowly buying the stuff I need to start doing this.

Yeah that was exactly how I got into it. Now my brews are on par with many of the local and store bought offerings. Plus it's been a great educational experience!
 
It's been right over 24 hours and the starter looks very yeasty. I pitched slurry and all (did not decant any of the 150 ml 1.020 wort) into the 1.5L 1.020 wort and it krausened within an hour or two. The flask was still not yeasty looking but that takes time. This is still fermenting out though and man this is just so neat! I really didn't think this would work and surely I had to have messed up something lol Now I wish I would've gotten into yeast freezing sooner. Anywho I'll keep this posted/updated for learning/educational purposes.
 
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